Ensemble model for estimating continental-scale patterns of human movement: a case study of Australia

Karen McCulloch, Nick Golding, Jodie McVernon, Sarah Goodwin, Martin Tomko

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Understanding human movement patterns at local, national and international scales is critical in a range of fields, including transportation, logistics and epidemiology. Data on human movement is increasingly available, and when combined with statistical models, enables predictions of movement patterns across broad regions. Movement characteristics, however, strongly depend on the scale and type of movement captured for a given study. The models that have so far been proposed for human movement are best suited to specific spatial scales and types of movement. Selecting both the scale of data collection, and the appropriate model for the data remains a key challenge in predicting human movements. We used two different data sources on human movement in Australia, at different spatial scales, to train a range of statistical movement models and evaluate their ability to predict movement patterns for each data type and scale. Whilst the five commonly-used movement models we evaluated varied markedly between datasets in their predictive ability, we show that an ensemble modelling approach that combines the predictions of these models consistently outperformed all individual models against hold-out data.
Original languageEnglish
Article number4806
Number of pages12
JournalScientific Reports
Publication statusPublished - 26 Feb 2021

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